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From Here On

You have your list and map – the rest is mostly up to you. They can become intellectual curiosities, dust collecting relics or the first steps on a path that will significantly change your life and way of living. I have six suggestions to leave you with.

1. Don’t try to do it all at once: It took you a long time to build this artificial edifice and it will take time to remove and dispose of it. It is important to take your time and be deliberate.

2. Journal your efforts – leave tracks in the snow: Remember to leave the proverbial trail of bread crumbs – not so that you can find your way back – but so you can see how far you have come. It is a very good idea to start a journal of your efforts and take a bit of time at the end of each day to record your efforts – failures and successes – and remember to be honest lest the journal become another mask!

3. Keep at it: Consistent diligent effort is what is called for. Don’t give up because you had a bad day – remember the masks will fight back!

4. Chart your progress: The journal will help you keep track – but also spend some time thinking about the progress that you are making – take a look back at what used to be – it will help you to keep moving forward

5. Celebrate each victory: Each time a mask falls, give your self a treat – and invite some of those around you to join in. Celebrate each victory for what it really is – a step towards complete liberation.

6. Get Thee a Mentor: There is ever a danger of wandering off the path into a forest of self-deception – so take steps to avoid this ignominious fate. All of the work that you have been doing can come to nothing if you don’t share it with someone – a person who will help you keep on the track and call you if you begin to sabotage the process. The nature of the work you will be doing is so sensitive that you might not feel comfortable sharing it with someone you know well – indeed, someone who has been the victim of one or more of your masks – the deceptions that you have fielded. I can’t make this point forcefully enough. Trust someone with the work you are doing – ask for their help in doing it. You are going to be doing some very heavy lifting – a good Mentor can help you make it count.


Good luck on your journey. If you need a bit of help now and then – or just want to crow about your successes, drop me an e-mail at I would love to hear about your experiences. I will leave you with a poem by William Stafford.

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
And I don’t know the kind of person you are
A pattern that others made may prevail in the world
And following the wrong god home we may miss our star. For there is many a small betrayal in the mind
A shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
Sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
Storming out to play through the broken dyke. And as elephants parade holding each other’s tail,
But if one wanders the circus won’t find the park
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
To know what occurs but not recognize the fact. And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
A remote important region in all who talk:
Though we could fool each other, we should consider
Lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark. For it is important that awake people be awake
Or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep
The signals we give – yes or no, or maybe –
Should be clear: the darkness around us is deep

© Earl R Smith II, PhD

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